The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team posted two wins in a tri-meet at Gardner-Webb today. The Mocs defeated The Citadel 17-15 and Gardner-Webb 23-13 to improve to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in Southern Conference action.
Gardner-Webb is an affiliate member of the SoCon in wrestling and hosted the matches in Boiling Springs, N.C. Both were broadcast on ESPN+ with links to the replay temporarily available at the top of the page.
“We have to get better in the hard positions and fighting through them,” stated head coach Kyle Ruschell. “We also have to better with our basics, getting to our ties and our finishes. We had some guys competing hard and some others that need to step up an continue to get better.”
There was lots of excitement throughout the day. The result was still up in the air in the final match of both duals. Despite missing the services of starting juniors Tanner Smith (149) and Hunter Fortner (174), who were both out with injuries, UTC still managed to take both contests.
Senior Fabian Gutierrez, junior Franco Valdes and freshman Logan Andrew led the Mocs with two wins each. Gutierrez entered the weekend No.
19 in the Flo rankings at 125 pounds. He posted bonus points with major decisions in both matches.
Up next for the Mocs is another SoCon tri-meet at Davidson on Jan. 23. UTC faces the host Wildcats and VMI in SoCon action next weekend.
Chattanooga 17 - The Citadel 15
157: Weston Wichman (UTC) over Grant Speer (CIT) (MD 11-3)
165: Andrew Nicholson (UTC) over Dazjon Casto (CIT) (Dec 5-3)
174: Cole Burke (CIT) over Carial Tarter (UTC) (Dec 8-4)
184: Kyle Kretzer (CIT) over No. 12 Matthew Waddell (UTC) (Dec 6-1)
197: Logan Andrew (UTC) over Ben Stemmet (CIT) (Dec 10-3)
285: Michael McAleavey (CIT) over Grayson Walthall (UTC) (Dec 3-1)
125: No. 19 Fabian Gutierrez (UTC) over Jordie White (CIT) (MD 11-2)
133: Jake Rotunda (CIT) over Colton Landers (UTC) (Dec 8-4)
141: Franco Valdes (UTC) over Ethan Willis (CIT) (Dec 10-4)
149: Selwyn Porter (CIT) over Aidan Murphy (UTC) (Dec 5-2)
Bonus points proved to be the difference in the match against The Citadel. Each team won five bouts, but the Mocs got major decisions from freshman Weston Wichman at 157 and Gutierrez at 125.
Wichman opened the match with an 11-3 win over Grant Speer. Junior Drew Nicholson followed that with a nice 5-3 decision against Dazjon Casto. Nicholson came into the match with a 2-2 record against Casto. He gave up an early takedown and over 2:30 in riding time in the first period. However, he used two takedowns of his own to erase over 90 seconds of that riding time on his way to the win.
Sophomore Carial Tarter moved up to 174 and nearly pulled off a win. He was leading 4-3 late in the match against Cole Burke, but gave up four nearfall points to drop an 8-4 decision.
The Citadel had a big upset at 184 when Kyle Kretzer scored a 6-1 win over No. 12 Matthew Waddell. Andrew came right back with a 10-3 win at 197. Gutierrez had over five minutes of riding time in his 11-2 major decision against Jordie White.
Valdes came out hot with three takedowns in the first period against Ethan Willis. He went on to score 10-4 decision to give the Mocs a 17-12 advantage.
In the final match of the dual, junior Aidan Murphy moved up to 149 and took on 2020 NCAA Qualifier Selwyn Porter. The Citadel needed a pin to win and a tech fall to force criteria, but Murphy wrestled hard. He was in a 2-2 tie early in the third before Porter posted a 5-2 decision. UTC took the match 17-15.
Chattanooga 23 – Gardner-Webb 13
157: Taylor Parks (GW) over Weston Wichman (UTC) (Dec 8-7)
165: Rodrick Mosley (GW) over Drew Nicholson (UTC) (MD 12-4)
174: Sam Mora (GW) over Carial Tarter (UTC) (Dec 12-5)
184: No. 12 Matthew Waddell (UTC) over Evan Schenk (GW) (Dec 6-2)
197: Logan Andrew (UTC) over Jack Trautman (GW) (Dec 7-5)
285: Grayson Walthall (UTC) over Gabriel Picket (GW) (TF 19-0 3:00)
125: No. 19 Fabian Gutierrez (UTC) over Austin Wadlow (GW) (MD 12-0)
133: Todd Carter (GW) over Colton Landers (UTC) (Dec 10-7)
141: Franco Valdes (UTC) over Trevon Majette (GW) (MD 11-3)
149: Aidan Murphy (UTC) over Brandon Bright (GW) (Dec 3-2)
Gardner-Webb jumped out to a 10-0 lead with three straight wins to open the second dual of the day. Wichman dropped a one-point match to Taylor Parks at 157, followed by Nicholson giving up a major decision (12-4) to RJ Mosely. Tarter looked like he was also going to give up a major, but a late reversal closed the game to 12-5.
Waddell put UTC on the board with a 6-2 decision over Evan Schenk. Andrew close the game to 10-6 with a 7-5 decision at 197. Junior Grayson Walthall had one of his best matches, scoring a 19-0 tech fall over Gabriel Pickett. His first-period win gave UTC an 11-10 lead.
Gutierrez stretched the Chattanooga advantage to 15-10 with a 12-0 major decision over Austin Wadlow. The Runnin’ Bulldogs made it interesting when Todd Carter posted a 10-7 decision over Colton Landers. That closed the gap to 15-13 with two matches left.
Valdes an Majette were in a battle at 141, with Valdes leading 5-2 in the closing seconds. He caught Majette off guard and put him on his back with just under 20 seconds left. He did not get the fall, but the six-point move gave him an 11-3 major decision. That win gave UTC a six-point 19-13 lead with one match left.
Both competitors at 149 moved up a weight for the final bout of the day. Junior Aidan Murphy scored a 3-2 win over Brandon Bright to close out he dual and a 23-13 win.